All iPads NAS Hard Drive for Personal Cloud?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by jmine83, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. jmine83 macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    I've been doing some research on what the ideal backup hard drive and personal media server solution for me would be and came across the following products that seem to fit the description:

    WD My Book Live
    Seagate GoFlex Home Network Storage System
    Buffalo LinkStation Live

    Upon reviewing the information on the drives in questions to the best of my ability, there is still one critically important, lingering question I have that I can't find a clear answer to yet. Here is what I mean:

    Each of these brands (WD, Seagate, Buffalo) for their particular NAS product have their own respective iOS apps that allows the user to access the content of the NAS drive anywhere they happen to be connected to wi-fi. Does that mean the user has to sacrifice being able to play media files through the native Apple-brand iOS apps? To clarify, it sounds like while these NAS manufacturers provide anywhere access to the drive through their apps, that unfortunately means you can't use the native iOS apps to play and control the media on the NAS?

    Someone please clarify and share if there is a way that the native iOS apps can play and control the media being streamed from the NAS drive.
  2. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I've been researching these products too. I have a media server that's a proper server but I'd like to use a NAS.

    While I don't own one yet... there is no reason using these devices to stream media would preclude you from using other streaming, like iTunes. What they do is stream using known protocols, like DLNA or UPnP. The app just enables you to talk to the NAS on those protocols.

    The main problem I have with these devices is the terrible reviews they get. Apparently they're slow and buggy still. The only one that people seem to like is Synology, which is quite a bit more expensive and doesn't include any storage out of the box.
  3. jmine83 thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2011
    Thank you for your response.

    Maybe a proper server is what I need to invest in. Also, after I wrote my initial post of this thread, I later discovered the Apple Time Capsule which seemed to offer features that seemed to strongly imply it could be configured as a NAS. I would prefer to stick to Apple brand products for a media server if I can, so I tried researching the Time Capsule as a media server solution.

    To clarify, I am wanting a server solution that will store all my media and allow me to access it "anywhere" I have a wi-fi or cellular internet connection, thus streaming the content to my devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV). What I found in regard to the T.C. in most cases the comments I read indicated that the T.C. can only work as a media server within your home network. Therefore you could not access the media content anywhere. There were some tutorials that claimed to have a work-a-round to make the T.C. like a NAS, but even so, the network performance would be terrible. If someone wants to validate and confirm my statements regarding the T.C. as a NAS, I would appreciate so that I at least know not to buy the T.C.

    So, dedicated NAS devices aside, here is a simple breakdown of the functionality I am looking to achieve in a single storage device:

    1. Allows "anywhere" streaming access to the storage device contents from the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. That means via wi-fi, at least, and cellular network connection if possible. If cellular network access is not possible, that's okay and I can let that go.

    2. A system configuration such that the native iOS media apps can access and control the media being streamed.

    3. Storage device connects directly to my home modem via ethernet.

    If I need to invest in a true server rather than a NAS solution, I might have to do so. Off the top of my head, the Apple product best suited to accomplish the task of servicing my three requirements mentioned is probably the Mac Mini with OSX Server. But how would the network performance be?
  4. bimmerboii, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

    bimmerboii macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2008
    I have the WD MyBook Live 2TB. Set up is pretty straightforward. The iphone/ipad apps are working flawlessly and have been updated to support the iphone 5 resolution as well as the retina ipad. The video playback of WD iOS app is limited to certain formats. It wont play every format out there. I use an app called FileExplorer and it plays almost all kinds of video format i have tried. I dont have an AppleTV so I cant comment on it.

    WD regularly updates the firmware. Since i bought mine about a year ago it already had around 3 firmware updates. It would be best to pair this with a fast gigabit router to maximize your transfer speeds. Yes, this device connects through the ethernet port. It does not have a USB port.

    You can create multiple users on the hard drive. Each accessible with their own passwords. The drive can be seen on your local network and can be secured with a password so not everyone has access to it. I can access movies stored in the drive through my xbox 360. My macbook and pc can also browse the contents of the drive.

    There is also remote access of the drive when you are away from home. All in all I recommend this product. Just install and forget setup. All these backed up by WD's 3yr warranty. I only use WD for all my hard drives and they are rock solid, never had a problem with one and I hope it stays that way in the years to come.
  5. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    jmine, I would check out the Synology DS212J. It is actually a shoebox Linux server that supports plug-in modules for just about anything. All you do is add your own hard drive (or two). There is even an iTunes media server plug-in. They seem to be well supported and users are genuinely happy with them. I intend to give one a try sooner than later.

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